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University Support Staff Senate


'Classy' Employees to be Given Top Honors

Classified Award of Excellence Nominations Open

The Road Ahead
New president says Classified Senate has a full plate over the next year

July 22, 2009 article in K-Statement

Full-time classified staffers gain vacation leave (pdf)

November 20, 2008 article in K-Statement

Classified senate challenge

June 19, 2008 article in K-Statement

Jennyfer Owensby seeks co-workers' input on pay plans

June 19, 2008 article in K-Statement

President Wefald's letter to Facilities Staff

TO: Facilities Staff

I wanted to send a thank you to every single member of our Kansas State University Facilities staff. I know I speak for everyone when I say that none of us ever want to see or hear about a tornado in this area ever again. We all know the monumental damage that this tornado did to Chapman, Kansas, and to hundreds of homes in the western part of Manhattan. We can all be grateful that by the time this tornado hit our campus it had been reduced to a tornado somewhere between an F-1 and an F-2.

As most of you know by now, five of our buildings-including Cardwell, Fiedler, Ward, Weber, and Bushnell Halls.were heavily damaged. But 18 other buildings on our main campus suffered some damage as well. In addition, 1/3 of the street signage, 55 light poles, and 50 streetlights were also damaged or destroyed during the storm. Fortunately, there were no injuries sustained at K-State on Wednesday night, June 11, 2008.

I do want to thank our entire Facilities staff for doing such an extraordinary job in terms of K-State.s cleanup and recovery effort. I know that many of you were up all night on Wednesday night. I know that we had over 400 people on the ground by early Thursday morning. I know that many of you worked so very hard over the weekend. I am not sure if there is any university in America that could have mounted such an incredible and monumental effort in such a short period of time.

I was amazed at the huge progress that we made just on Thursday alone. By 6:00 p.m. on Thursday night, we had already picked up truckloads of insulation, trash, and debris from the tornado. By 6:00 p.m., all of the roofs on the four major buildings already had temporary roofing in place. On Friday, we continued to make more progress on every front. Many of you continued to work very hard on the cleanup and the tree trimming and the tree hauling on Saturday and Sunday.

We already have hired a number of roofing subcontractors; heating and air conditioning subcontractors; and window subcontractors. We are in the process of getting help from some additional tree trimming subcontractors. We will be hiring more students to help us in the cleanup between now and the time school starts. We also will be hiring some power washing companies so that we can clean up our buildings and our sidewalks and parking lots.

Again, I want to thank our entire Facilities staff. You have marvelously responded to this major crisis and this major challenge. You have demonstrated the spirit of K-State Proud. We are a team here at K-State and we are a family. I do not think any university in America has a better Facilities staff. Thank you for your dedication, hard work, and determination. K-State is all about hope and getting the job done. I know that by August 15, 2008, we will have our campus at least back to where it was on June 10, 2008. Our goal is to have an even more beautiful and clean university campus. Thank you for all you do.

Sebelius signs bill for state employee raises

By Tim Carpenter

The Capital-Journal
Published Saturday, May 17, 2008

Kansas State University accountant Jennyfer Owensby gushed with enthusiasm Friday at a ceremony marking implementation of a new market-driven pay plan for 41,000 state employees.

"It feels like we just came out of the dark ages," said Owensby, who traveled to the Statehouse with colleagues to witness signing of the reform bill by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

The bipartisan measure recognized salaries of thousands of state workers were far below market rates and that it was time to replace the seniority-based compensation system with a merit-oriented model that rewarded the best employees.

In addition, all state workers will pocket a 2.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment in the year starting July 1. The Legislature financed the first phase of a five-year program to raise wages of 7,750 state employees to market value. Longevity bonuses will go to workers hired before July 1.

A permanent oversight panel is to evaluate the transition to a more equitable compensation structure and report findings to the legislative and executive branches.

Sebelius said many Kansas public employees earned 45 percent less than people working similar jobs in other states. "This makes it hard to attract and retain quality workers to serve the people of Kansas," the governor said.

House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, said the state's "broken" pay system was due for overhaul. The approach in House Bill 2916 is a "big step forward with the state acknowledging the importance of its workforce," Neufeld said.

Rep. Pat George, a Dodge City Republican who served on a state commission on employee pay, said working on the two-year reform project was the most rewarding experience of his legislative career. The commission gathered input from Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate, as well as employees in state government.

The state pay matrix put in place during the 1960s no longer matched the needs of state employees, George said. "I believe in five years we will look back and find we did the right thing," he said. "Instead of lagging behind other states, we will be the gold standard other state employee pay plans strive to meet."

Janel Harder, administrative specialist in KSU's College of Education, said adoption of a performance-based salary process would boost morale in state government offices.

"There has been very low morale for many, many years," Harder said. "This will improve retention."

Harder and Owensby are members of Classified Senate on the Manhattan campus. The organization conducted a survey two years ago to determine how many classified employees at the university took on second jobs to make ends meet. The survey showed 43 percent had multiple jobs.

FY 2009 Market Adjustments

The following message below was released by Human Resources concerning the market adjustments for FY2009.

The State of Kansas Department of Personnel Services has established a website for communicating information regarding the phased implementation of the changes to the state's new pay plan: http://www.da.ks.gov/newpayplans/

***Please keep in mind the implementation of the new pay plans is a phased process. Market adjustments, if warranted, will be made to select classifications over various fiscal years throughout the five-year implementation process. Please contact HR with questions at (785) 532-6277.

Human Resources has received notification from the State Division of Personnel Services regarding those classifications that will be receiving market adjustments in FY2009. The classifications affected, as well as a brief explanation of how those adjustments will be accomplished, may be found at http://www.da.ks.gov/newpayplans/marketadj09.pdf(pdf). All employees in classifications receiving market adjustments for FY2009 will receive an increase of at least 5%, in addition to the General Increase provided to all classified employees. Specific details on the implementation of these increases will be sent to departments in the coming weeks. These market adjustments are dependent upon the governor signing an executive order.

Please ensure these changes are communicated to department heads and/or deans. Note that the list includes all affected classifications for State of Kansas employees and many of those are not used at K-State.

Please contact your HR liaison with questions at (785)532-6277.

New Pay Plan Passes

April 30, 2008, the House passed HB2916 approving the new state Pay Plan, which has been sent to the Governor for her signature. The provisions of the FY2009 Pay Plan are as follows:

  • A 2.5% General Increase for classified employees and merit increase for unclassified employees;
  • A longevity bonus, at $50 per year, for classified employees who are eligible; and
  • Funding for the first of five years of market adjustments for classifications that are significantly behind market.

In addition to these provisions, the final version of the bill also includes the proposal to limit eligibility for a longevity bonus for employees hired or rehired after June 15, 2008 and provides that the Compensation Philosophy developed by the Task Force last summer will be set out in statute. Finally, the bill also approves the recommendations of the State Employee Compensation Oversight Commission to implement the five new pay plans and provides for a committee consisting of the following members to provide ongoing oversight regarding the implementation of the new pay plans: two members appointed by the Speaker of the House, one member appointed by the House Minority Leader, one member appointed by the President of the Senate, one member appointed by the Senate Minority Leader, two members appointed by the Governor (one of whom must be a representative from a labor organization) and two ex officio members in the form of the Secretary of Administration (or designee) and the Secretary of Labor (or designee).

The list of classes that will be receiving market adjustments in FY2009 and a brief explanation of how those adjustments will be accomplished, will be provided no later than Tuesday, May 6th.

Additional information regarding the FY2009 Pay Plan will be coming very soon.

Classified Employees Honored for Service

The 31st annual Classified Employee Recognition Ceremony April 2 honored more than 200 workers for their service.

Thirty-eight classified employees who retired in 2007 were recognized, and more than 100 employees were honored for their length of service to K-State, ranging from five years to 35 years.

Lori Goetsch, dean of libraries, was guest speaker at the event.

Honored as classified employees of the year were 43 people selected by their college, administrative unit or university agency.

Read the whole article in the K-Statement.

Legislative Updates

House Select Committee on State Employee Pay Plan
March 6, 2008
Kansas Council of Classified Senates Notes

On March 6, 2008, Barb Nagel presented the Kansas Council of Classified Senates (KCCS) position statement on House Bill 2916 to the House Select Committee on State Employee Pay Plan, see links below to read the KCCS statement and HB 2916. There were three other representatives invited to give testimony: Representative Pat George, Chair; Gary Adkins, Executive Director of SEAK; and Jane Carter, Kansas Organization of State Employees (KOSE). KCCS feels it was a good meeting which confirmed our position to support HB 2916 as is.

Representative George emphasized the unprecedented, bipartisan effort to revitalize the State of Kansas classified employee workforce with a new pay plan. He believes this Committee and the Kansas Legislature is committed to dramatically improving the classified employee pay plan and has pledged to allocate $252,000,000 over a 5 year period to bring classifications identified by the Department of Personnel Services (DPS) as significantly under market (75% of classified workforce) back up to market.

Numerous times during his testimony, Representative George indicated the importance of making sure no state employee is financially hurt during the implementation of the new pay plans. For that reason, the Committee recommended including longevity pay in FY 2009 by rolling longevity into base pay instead of allocating on a yearly basis as a bonus payment. If all employees were adjusted to market, employees currently above market would, technically, not be eligible for additional longevity funds. That action would give those employees an unnecessary pay cut. By rolling longevity into base pay, they would protect those funds for the 25% of employees paid at or above market. In his view, moving longevity into base pay is important to protect all employees, including those with salaries above market due to length of service. Employees in the longevity pool as of FY 2009, would receive longevity in their base pay (increasing bi–weekly pay rate) which will help those employees reach market rates at a slightly quicker pace than employees who do not receive longevity. However, all employees will be adjusted to market within 3–5 years or keep their current salaries if they are paid above market, including longevity.

In his words, "HB 2916 is a major undertaking and involves a whole new mind set. I know we are recommending spending money in a tight budget year and it will not be easy to do. However, it is the right thing to do. We are going to put our money where our mouth is." If approved, the pay plans will take 5 years for full implementation. Classified employees would see consistent base pay increases until their classification receives a market adjustment. He acknowledged this is a new process with a significant learning curve and many details have not been worked out yet.

He also stated there is a significant amount of ‘distrust’ from classified employees who do not believe the State of Kansas will follow through due to the Legislaturepast 6 years. He is hopeful and committed to turning that skepticism around and making state employees proud to work for the State of Kansas again. Part of gaining the employees’ trust has already been demonstrated by the Legislature in addressing the pay plan issue with HB 2916 early in the session and obtaining funding for 5 years to support the new pay plans with the passage of this ground-breaking legislation.

Gary Adkins, Executive Director of SEAK, leant support for HB 2916 and believes the new pay plans have significant potential to help classified employees gain lost ground. However, SEAK is concerned about longevity and losing the ability to reward employees for length of service. SEAK commended the Committee members and members in the audience for their hard work on the new pay plan proposal. SEAK would like to see the new pay plans implemented without repealing the longevity statute.

Barb Nagel, KCCS Representative, recommended passing HB 2916 as is. KCCS is in favor of rolling longevity into base pay so any future base pay increases would increase the longevity funds as well as the employeeoriginal base salary. We believe a market based system provides a competitive pay to attract and retain employees along with offering a system that monitors and responds to market pay changes proactively. KCCS highly recommends the continuation of a permanent Oversight Committee to oversee the implementation process and keep it on track once implementation is complete. We believe at least one member of the Oversight Committee should be a classified employee to provide valuable input as a person who is directly affected by the changes this Committee recommends.

Jane Carter, KOSE Strategic Analyst, spoke with great concern over the longevity issue. KOSE would prefer to keep the current matrix pay plan with funded step movements, COLA’ and longevity bonuses. They commended the work of the Committee members and members in the audience. However, they contend the real problem with our current below market pay was when the Legislature froze step movement and did not fund the current pay plan as it was designed. KOSE emphasizes fair pay for equal work and does not support any type of merit increase for above satisfactory or exceptional work performance.

Mr. Adkins, Mrs. Nagel & Ms. Carter fielded numerous questions from Committee members after their presentations. Representative Tom Hawk asked Mrs. Nagel (KCCS) if she and her constituents would approve an amendment to HB 2916 that would grandfather in longevity for employees hired before 7/1/2008 and move it back to a yearly, negotiable bonus. Without having time to take that idea back to her constituents, she reiterated that KCCS is in favor of approving HB 2916 as is with longevity included in base pay.

Representative Lee Tafanelli asked Ms. Carter (KOSE) some specific questions about longevity bonuses which she could not answer. Representative Tafanelli opened his questions for the audience to provide input. Numerous people, including Mrs. Nagel, provided him with answers. Representative Tafanelli wanted to know if there were any caps on longevity and, if so, why KOSE would support a longevity system which stopped recognizing employee’s dedication to service after that cap (25 years). He, correctly, assumed there are a significant number of employees who have reached step 16 and have worked more than 25 years. He was concerned those employees receive little, if any, increases to their pay and did not understand why KOSE would want to keep a system that rewarded longevity up to 25 years and then stopped valuing those employees or caring about their financial needs. In his view, the new pay plans would continue to compensate all employees through market adjustments, base pay and merit increases no matter how long the employee works for the State of Kansas. We thought Representative Tafanelli made an important and insightful point since longevity seems to be the greatest concern for the unions.

Representative Mah felt there was an effort by some presenters to imply employees would not receive salary increases once their classification was adjusted to market. She wanted to make sure everyone in the room understood that is not the case. There will be pay bands for employees to be compensated for increased job knowledge and/or duties with base pay and merit increases for satisfactory and exceptional work performance. In essence, there are no caps for any employee in the new pay plan. Again, KCCS thought Representative Mah made an excellent point.

KOSE was again put on the spot when Representative Grange asked KOSE why a group of employees KOSE said they represent did not know KOSE held an informational meeting in their area. He wanted to know how KOSE informs classified employees about their meetings. Ms. Carter explained those meetings are for members who pay yearly membership dues and are not open to non-members, which explains why a large group of employees have never heard of KOSE and were not provided with the opportunity to provide input during recent KOSE meetings.

All in all, KCCS representatives were very impressed with the issues brought up during this meeting. It is our opinion that the Committee members do understand the strengths and weaknesses with the current matrix pay system and are committed to creating a new system that will continue to reward all employees, regardless of length of service, and provide much needed market adjustments on a rotating schedule.

The Committee addressed the union’s concerns regarding favoritism and merit pay, which is an issue in any pay plan, including our current system. We agree there is a lot of uncertainty due to the lack of information on market increases (who, how much and when), where classifications will fall under the new pay plan structure and paying longevity funds to employees in a different manner then they have grown accustomed to.

As of this morning, the House Select Committee on the State Employee Pay Plan passed HB 2916 with two significant amendments. The first amendment eliminates longevity-into-base proposal and replaces it with the traditional longevity bonus at $50/year for FY2009, but limits eligibility to the longevity bonus to current employees and any employee hired prior to June 15, 2008. Any employee hired or re-hired on or after that date will not be eligible for the longevity bonus.

The second amendment establishes an oversight committee to provide oversight on the development and implementation of the new pay plans. The committee will include: 1) one member appointed by the President of the Senate; 2) two members appointed by the Speaker of the House; 3) one member appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate; 4) one member appointed by the Minority Leader of the House; and 5) two members appointed by the Governor. The Legislative appointments are not required to be Legislators, but there must be at least one member of the House and one member of the Senate on the Committee.

The passage of this bill by the Committee is a positive step in accomplishing the original Pay Plan Philosophy to move classified employees to market based pay system. HB 2916 will be sent to the House floor next week, then if passed sent to the Senate floor. If passed by the Senate it will go to the Governor for her signature or veto.

Whether you agree with the Committee, KCCS, SEAK, KOSE, or have your own unique opinion, we strongly encourage you to contact your legislators during your personal time, phones, email or stationary. They need to hear from you NOW.

Barbara Nagel's Testimony on HB2916 (pdf)

Read House Bill 2916 (pdf)

Explanation of Market Adjustment (pdf) by Division of Personnel Services (DPS)

Classified Staff State Pay Plan Study Update available courtesy of Pittsburg State University.

The Governor's budget can be found at the following link:

http://budget.ks.gov/publications/FY2009/FY2009_GBR_Vol1.pdf (pdf)

State employees and the pay plans are on pages 53 & 54.

Sebelius budget includes pay raise

Governor requests 2.5 percent hike for state workers

By Tim Carpenter The Capital-Journal Published Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius wants to slip a few more coins in the pockets of state employees and retirees. She has asked the 2008 Legislature to approve a $55 million program to boost base pay for all workers by 2.5 percent and start a five-year project to make state salaries more competitive with private sector wages. Her proposal follows recommendations of a state commission studying state employee compensation.

"Some job classes are more out-of-market than others," Duane Goossen, the governor's budget director said Tuesday in a budget briefing. "This first year starts with the job classes that are most out-of-market." The Democratic governor, who set out her legislative agenda Monday in the State of the State address, also proposed three consecutive years of 1 percent cost-of-living increases for thousands of retirees in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. This would add $6.4 million annually to the system's payment to former employees and culminate in an annual $20 million obligation.

"That's an additional $20 million forever," said Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton. "That's a consideration."

Topeka-area legislators applauded Sebelius' proposal. The Legislature last approved a COLA for KPERS in 1998.

"It's a very, very long time coming," said Rep. Vaughn Flora, D-Topeka. "It almost seemed impossible to get done."

The recommendations by Sebelius were contained in a $13.6 billion budget for the 2009 fiscal year starting July 1.

Sebelius would raise overall expenditures 3.6 percent over current levels. Her plan draws upon $218 million in state reserves to produce an ending balance of $318 million. The budget incorporates $81 million in anticipated revenue from construction of casinos and placement of slot machines at dog and horse racing tracks.

Goossen said Sebelius targeted public education, social services, health, corrections, aging, transportation and public safety. Special appropriations went for job creation, disaster aid, early childhood, college scholarships, water projects and providing free admission to state parks.

Sebelius' budget didn't include $60 million that would be generated by a proposed increase in the state tobacco taxes. She endorsed the tax to raise money for health care reforms, but many legislators doubt a higher tax will be approved in an election year.

Classified Senate in the forefront
Visibility, communication top new president Barb Nagel's list of priorities

Article by Media Relations and Marketing in the K-Statement about the Classified Senate and the new president, Barb Nagel.